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Red Wings, Canucks to match stacked top lines

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- The Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks will feature a battle of loaded top lines Wednesday.

Coming off four straight losses, Detroit reunited Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on a line with Todd Bertuzzi, while the Canucks have won four straight games with Selke Trophy-winning center Ryan Kesler moved up to play right wing with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.

"Faceoffs are going to be important," Zetterberg said. "Both of our lines want to have the puck and it's not so fun to chase it."

The Red Wings have done too much chasing of the puck early this season, having been outshot in eight of their past 10 games and giving up 40 shots to the New York Rangers in a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday.

"We're too loose, we're giving up too many shots and we're not as tight as we should be defensively," coach Mike Babcock said.

Playing a familiar Western Conference opponent may help as Detroit starts a four-game Canadian road trip. Moving into the Eastern Conference this season, Zetterberg said the play is "more open" than what they were used to in the West.

"Absolutely," he said, adding it was still early. "My view is that the East is more open than it is out West and I don't know if that is why we are playing poor defense right now, but it shouldn't affect the way we play. We should stay within our structure and focus more on [defense]."

They'll need to against the Canucks, who outshot the Washington Capitals 41-19 to open a three-game homestand Monday, with the new No. 1 line scoring twice. Kesler has five goals in the past four games, Daniel Sedin has three goals and three assists, and brother Henrik has two goals and four assists in the past five games.

After scoring the tying and winning goals against Alex Ovechkin's line Monday, Daniel Sedin looked forward to playing against Zetterberg and Datsyuk, especially with Kesler now on the right side.

"It's a lot of fun playing against the top guys," Daniel said, noting Kesler helps on right-side faceoffs, among many other things. "Good on the forecheck, great skater, he brings a lot to the table."

Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser will be matched against the Sedins and Kesler on a new top pairing with Niklas Kronwall.

"I've just watched them on TV but they just really seem like they protect the puck in zone and somehow they always know where the other player is," DeKeyser said of the Sedins. "You have to trust your teammate to have his man and you got to take care of your guy."

Here are the expected lines for Vancouver and Detroit:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Ryan Kesler

Chris Higgins - Mike Santorelli - Alexandre Burrows

Brad Richardson - Jeremy Welsh - Zack Kassian

Tom Sestito - Yannick Weber - Darren Archibald

Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev ???

Alexander Edler - Jason Garrison

Ryan Stanton - Kevin Bieksa

Roberto Luongo

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Andrew Alberts

Injured: Jordan Schroeder (foot), Jannik Hansen (upper body), Dale Weise (lower body), David Booth (undisclosed)


Todd Bertuzzi - ­ Pavel Datsyuk - Henrik Zetterberg

Daniel Cleary - Stephen Weiss - Daniel Alfredsson

Tomas Tatar - Joakim Andersson - Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall - Danny DeKeyser

Kyle Quincey ­ - Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff ­ - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Johan Franzen (undisclosed), Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder), Darren Helm (back)

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